Olympus TG-5 TOUGH-er Than Before
Video: How Editor AL started the Review on board Princess Sapphire at Okinawa.
29th May 2017, Japan-Taiwan-Singapore – I was extremely thrilled when Olympus Singapore sent me the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera right before I left Singapore for Japan/ Taiwan. Having reviewed all the TOUGH Flagship cameras, I have a lot of expectations for the TG-5. I do hope Olympus had sorted out a few things that bothers me from the TG-4, like not-that-fast focus, sharpness compromised during continuous shutter, ISO noise at high ISO & weird underwater shadows. Without much thought, I packed the camera along with my other gears and off I went to Japan & Taiwan with the NEW Olympus TG-5.
Image: The NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH
Before I proceed, as usual I would like to disclaim that this is a user’s review with real world images from the camera with mild editing like cropping and adjusting of exposure, everything else was left as it is. If you found your way here looking for technical review and specs, I will suggest you stop reading and move on to Olympus’s main website.
The Olympus TG-5 comes with an ultimate zoom range of 25mm wide angle to 100mm telelphoto range and the lens elements are arranged in 9 elements in 7 groups, with dual aspherical elements and 2 ED elements that promises zero ghosting and or any distortion at its widest focusing range. The TG-5 starts focusing from 10cm and 1cm in Macro mode which is expected from a Flagship TOUGH. The front of the lens accepts a 40.5mm screw on filter which is very helpful if you manage to buy a ND filter of that thread size. You can even add a lens cap to it too.
The 12mp CMOS sensor is slightly bigger than its predecessor and the ISO control has improve by leaps. ISO capability of 100 to 12800, I used many 6400 during my trip especially during the night or pre-dawn hours. Coupled with the exposure compensation (EV)of +/2.0 in 3 step adjustment, this NEW Tough is superb even in low light condition. The back LCD now comes with a high-res 460,800 dots (153,600px) display and even when under water, the display is crisp and bright. Comes with Focus peaking and a blazing fast focusing (this is something which I am super impressed), the TOUGH is now also an excellent street camera which you can see from some of the examples below.
The WI-FI transfer & GPS logging comes as standard for the little TOUGH.
Weight like a feather, the TG-5 dives 15 meters under water without a housing and the battery life surprised me too. Olympus claims 340 shots per charge and on-site use I managed to get close to 500 shots before the battery dies on me. You will be happy to know that the TG-5 does a continous shots of 20fps in RAW, now that is scary isn’t it?
Here’s some quick specs you might wish to know.
You can bring the TG-5 for a swim or dive without its dedicated housing up to 50ft/15m (Waterproof), Freezeproof endurance up to 14F/-10C means you can go snowing countries without a worry, drop the Shockproof TG-5 from a height of 7ft/2.1m and the camera still rocks. Bring it to the middle east desert as it is Dustproof (IP6X), and it is so tough, it can withstand a weight of 220lbf, 100kgf (Crushproof) in case your big friend sits on it. Other features includes; Built-in GPS, Manometer, Temperature Sensor, Trekking Compass and Wi-Fi. Lastly, It is available ONLY in red or black.
Sounds like a little monster to you? Do not forget it is an Olympus so it comes with all the Art Filters and a wide range of pre-sets white balance and Scene mode that makes shooting so much easier and fun. Well, I will say it is definitely a monster. During the trip, I had tried to use the TG-5 in as many shooting situation as possible and you can see from the examples below. Get ready to be amazed!
Image: Japanese Performer at Okinawa, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.
I like the color rendering for the TG-5. I am not sure if I am the only one who thinks that the TG-5 gives me more vibrant colors when compared to the previous models especially TG-4 & TG-3.
Image: Street of Okinawa, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.
Image: Street of Okinawa, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.
Using the TOUGH like a Street camera is fun. It is small and not easily noticeable, that allows me to shoot the weirdest of subjects. And the shots from the TG-5 had further assured me that it is a competent street photography tool.
Image: Streets of Okinawa, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.
The image quality is awesome and good for large print despite the 12mp that seems a little small in today’s 24mp to 36mp era. It is well capable of producing images for printing.
Image: Street Bus at Okinawa, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.
I was walking when this cute dwarf of a bus turns out from the car park (at the back) and I quickly point the TG-5 and pressed the shutter. It all happened within milliseconds and I’ve gotten the above shot in sharp and beautifully exposed (P Mode). If this does not convince you of how fast the TG-5’s focusing is, read on. (Check out the Taiwan Train shot right below)
Image: Okinawa Port, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.
One will easily fall in love with the colors produced by the NEW TG-5. Just imagine getting an image that is close to 95% of what your eyes saw. Yes, I know many DSLRs is capable of doing that today, but mind you, the NEW TG-5 is a compact camera.
Image: Underwater Selfie. I always do this whenever I review underwater cameras. Seriously, I am very happy with the image quality. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.
While I had done lots of underwater selfie, I am exceptionally happy with the TG-5. The underwater mode had improved a lot especially the sharpness and color. If you had read my previous reviews and had saw my other underwater selfies, you will notice the skin is usually shaded in a weird smurf-like hue while the image above shows that I am really human in real skin color. Thumbsup! Below is another image that my partner had shot for me using the TG-5 and shot me from the other side of the pool. Not bad!
Image: On Board Princess Sapphire’s Swimming Pool while in Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.
Image: Sun set from the sun deck of Princess Sapphire’s Swimming Pool while leaving Okinawa and moving to Miyko-jima. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera using the Scene Mode (Sun Set mode).
Most of you who follows my articles knows that I am not a person who uses any of the pre-set in-camera filters but the above shot of the sun set while using the SCN Mode “Sun” promises a magical sun set image. Just see for yourself what the TG-5 is capable of.
(You may click on any of the image on this article to view the image at full size at full resolution).
Image: A view of Princess Sapphire while moving to on-shore Miyko-jima. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.
Image: A view of Miyko-jima Pier, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.
Although I have 3 other cameras with me, I was glued to the TG-5 and I was shooting practically everything on this trip with it. And it does not disappoints a bit. Below is an image taken at Ishigaki where many cameras will have difficulty to meter the exposure as there is thick clouds, far away mountains, bright sun, crystal-clear blue water and white vessels. I gotten the below image direct out from the camera where everything is “properly sorted” and I am truly convinced that the TG-5 is worth upgrading to from my current TG-4.
Image: A view black pearl lagoon at Ishigaki, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.
After I left Japan, I went back to Taipei city, Taiwan for a couple of days and decided to try out some street shoots. Weather had been erratic at this part of the world and as I am getting worried with the colors or how my images will turn out, I was relieved that the TG-5 does not disappoint at all. Most of these shots were taken while the sky is drizzling non-stop.
Image: Street Art on a Taipei Street, Taiwan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.
Image: Toy vending machines in an underground mall in Taipei, Taiwan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.
Time to show some high ISO images. The above image was taken at an underground mall at Taipei and fearing the flash will kill the reflective machines, I decided to boost the ISO and I was glad I did.
Image: Street Stall selling gigantic sausages at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.
Many of you would have gotten a shot that the signage will be too bright or if the signage is correctly exposed, the rest of the image will be super dark. I am sure you can relate to what I mean, but with the TG-5, shots like the above and below is a breeze and the TG-5 is really more than just a tough camera. It is a street monster too!
Image: Night Street in Taipei, Taiwan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.
Image: Sky Lantern Blessings at Shi Fen in Taipei, Taiwan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.
Now, about the 20 frames per second thingy, I basically heard the train coming, I held up the camera and press+hold the shutter. I’ve gotten 25 shots of the train passing and you know what? All 25 shots are tack sharp! This is very, very impressive! Given the same shooting environment, my TG-4 may produce 25 images too but about 4-5 images will be blur. The TG-5 gives me 25 tack sharp images, wow!
Image: Train Passing at Shi Fen in Taipei, Taiwan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.
Image: Under the Suspended Bridge at Shi Fen Waterfall in Taipei, Taiwan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.
In a quick summary, the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera had yet (again) set a new benchmark for “endurance” cameras. From using the TG-5 personally across 2 very different countries with contrasting shooting environments, the TG-5 had proven itself to be a real all-rounder. Maybe that’s why Olympus call it TOUGH.
Check out my other Olympus gear that I used for this trip.
Editor’s Note: Thank you Olympus Singapore!